Changing Seasons – March

Month three of my photographer’s nature journal.

What an unexpected start to the month! March began with the sort of weather I never expected to see in Cornwall, especially this far west. The sprinkling of snow we had on 6th February was nothing compared to the several inches that arrived on the frigid winds from Siberia on the last day of February, lingering into early March. Although beautiful to look at, my heart sank at the knowledge that several of my less than hardy plants would not welcome these below zero temperatures.

The winds that accompanied the snow blew drifts several feet high in places. I even saw snow lying in the hedgerow on 9th March when I went for a walk along the lanes to see if anything was growing.

The Lesser Celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) were still opening their golden faces to the sun and daffodils held their heads proudly along the stone wall leading to the dairy. The wild montbretia has suffered though and what was growing and fresh green now slumped in a soggy brown mush in mid-March. And camellias which should have been pink, were now brown. Not the most photogenic subject.

The birds were busy feeding non-stop in the cold weather and I was filling the feeders twice a day. Starlings came to feed on the suet and a pair of collared doves enjoyed the sunflower seeds. I was worried when only one of the doves began visiting as up until then I only ever saw them in a pair. I was relieved when they both returned to my garden on Mother’s Day (11th), a welcome gift. Chaffinches and sparrows still appear to be the most prolific birds here, though blue-tits, great-tits, pied-wagtails, robins and the occasional blackbird, dunnock and little brown wren venture into the garden, I even spotted a goldfinch this month.

On 18th March the wretched snow arrived again! This time it only stayed for a day, but again the below freezing temperatures managed to finish off what had gingerly recovered from the first blast.

The country lanes showed little sign of spring this month with many cool and grey days until the very end.

P3080014
A blue sky day accompanied by a frigid wind.

I shall leave you with this poem that could not be more apt, brought to my attention by Sally of My Beautiful Things, a true Cornish lady.

Early Spring

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke [1875-1926]

The Changing Seasons | March

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60 Comments Add yours

  1. Ros says:

    I feel quite sorry for the plants over there in the UK. Here in Romania they hadn’t got going yet when the Beast hit. Just starting to now, though. Those daffodils look wonderful!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Daffs are such cheerful flowers and these have come through marvellously. I have some small ones that have been flowering since February and still going!

      1. Ros says:

        We had some in Somerset that did that one year. The snow and ice doesn’t seem to phase them at all unless it crushes them.

  2. Su Leslie says:

    These are such lovely photos Jude, and I do like the 1:1 setting as a visual motif. I’m a bit like Heather with regards the snow, though I know how depressing it must seem and how frustrating to a gardener. Thank you for adding the poem; it is perfect. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked last month to seek nature. I will try harder this month.

      1. Su Leslie says:

        I’m not surprised, given the snow 😦

        1. Heyjude says:

          Well the snow didn’t last too long here, but it has been very cold and windy and I dislike cold. Also too wet for photography.

        2. Su Leslie says:

          😦
          Even my mum, who’s probably the most positive person I know, if totally fed up with the weather you are all having.

        3. Heyjude says:

          I think we’ve all got cabin fever from being indoors for so long. Cross fingers for a sunny day tomorrow!

        4. Su Leslie says:

          Here’s hoping 🙂

  3. Coming from a place where it hardly ever gets cold enough to even consider snowing, this is all very pretty. I understand though how difficult it can make life. Hopefully the gardens and hedgerows will recover quickly when the temperatures warm up.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Plants survive. Those that haven’t will be replaced. A shame the annual weeds don’t seem to have been affected! Hairy Bittercress and Goose Grass / sticky weed are all over my garden!

      1. What is it with weeds? They just never get the message they’re not welcome. 😞

        1. Heyjude says:

          True, and these are everywhere. I keep spending 20 minutes in the garden pulling any out I see, but there they are, back again the next time!

        2. Weeds must be the same all over the world. 😣

  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    What a month it was Jude, I must say I’m glad it’s over and if it could stop raining life would be perfect – I’m easily pleased 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes. It has been rather too damp. Time for some sun. And warmth.

  5. pommepal says:

    What a wild March it has been for you and your struggling garden Jude. I love the photo of those brave and resilient daffodils. What stars they are. Hope by now the terrible weather is behind you and your tender plants have survived. Hopefully you can report a better April. That poem is a beauty

    1. Heyjude says:

      Glad you like the poem PP. Went to see what the country lanes are doing yesterday and there are definite signs of life.

      1. pommepal says:

        You’ll soon be able to start planting. Everything will be late this year I think

  6. Joanne Sisco says:

    I found this buried in the long list of outstanding posts I have to read. I’m just reading March and soon we will be saying goodbye to April.

    You make a good point that a lot of your vegetation isn’t used to seeing the kind of weather you experienced this past winter. I hope that they have managed to recover. I’m holding little hope that my hydrangeas have survived this winter 😕
    Meantime I found a bunch of tulips poking out of the snow. It appears that spring is coming after all!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Mini heatwave here this week. Didn’t really reach us, though we had a couple of very nice days. The heat causes sea fog so the coast was a bit cooler. Hydrangeas are tough plants. Maybe I should get more of them 😀 Oh and tulips are going wild here!

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        I love hydrangeas. Not sure when that love affair started, but I have about a dozen of them in my front yard. Last year was THE BEST year for them. They were GORGEOUS because we had so much rain. Now I can’t see a single bud on any of the plants. Sigh.

        1. Heyjude says:

          They probably won’t show any buds until the weather warms up. Do you leave the flower heads on? I do, until I see the new leaves appear and then I cut them off to a pair of buds and cut any dead or crossing stems out too. I’d like a few different colours as I only have a white one. And it seems to like being in the north-facing courtyard.

        2. Joanne Sisco says:

          Yes, I do leave the flower heads on, and my front yard faces north. All of them are dark pink – chosen to complement the pale pink of the house brick.
          I think the challenge is that our winters get periods of very cold, but in the city, we don’t get enough snow cover to protect the plants from the cold.
          My sister lives further north than I do, and yet her hydrangeas thrive … but they get a LOT of snow and all her plants are routinely buried under the snow cover early in the winter.
          I probably should be covering mine each fall to protect them.

        3. Heyjude says:

          The worst thing is when the weather warms up and the buds appear and then you get another cold spell. That seemed to finish off my fuchsias, though I have noticed signs of life from the bottom of two of them, so fingers crossed!

        4. Joanne Sisco says:

          I have my fingers crossed for you too!

  7. Your photos look very pretty but it would not have been pleasant on a day to day basis. We arrived in London in the midst of the “Beast From The East” as we left Perth on 1st March. It delayed our travel as our onward flight from Hong Kong was cancelled and we arrived at Heathrow in a blizzard and minus 2! It was so dangerous getting around that weekend as there was ice upon impacted snow and the side streets were not properly gritted. The canal at Little Venice and the Regents Park lake were frozen over and the wind seemed to be howling in from Siberia. There were still snowdrifts several days later in Somerset where my mother in law lives and the snow then followed me up to Yorkshire and back down to London as our last weekend (over 16th and 18th March) was bitterly cold and snowy again. So we spent plenty of time indoors and the pubs warming up!! Hope your garden survived the worst and you have fresh flowers and plants appearing. Glad you looked after the birds too – my mother in law does the same and it is so lovely to watch them feeding outside her kitchen window 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes, your visit was probably during the worst month we had this winter. It must have seemed bitter for you not used to such extreme cold. Glad you managed to get around and visit the family though.

      1. Yes it was unbelievable that it should be so cold in March! Had to buy some heavy duty boots to avoid slipping over but I was otherwise well prepared with warm winter clothes 🙂

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